It took seven weeks, but Nikita finally hit its mark this week with an episode that put the screws to nearly every major character. Now will it be the start of something?
Ryan Fletcher (Noah Bean, if you forgot) cannot catch a break. The ex-CIA agent is now in prison, but the suspicious death of a pharmaceutical company employee makes him call Nikita (via his mom, no less). He’s cracked a Division operation known as “Grey Rain.” Unfortunately for Ryan, Amanda has intercepted the call and has sent Roan (Rob Stewart) to take care of him. He ends up in the bowels of Division at episode’s end, which could either be an awesome idea that allows Bean to continue to develop an underrated character, or it could be a horrible one that wrecks an underrated character. I don’t know which just yet. I’m just thrilled this is an excuse for Alberta Watson to turn up again. The idea of her at odds with Melinda Clarke sounds like it would be great entertainment.
Part of Watson’s substantive screen time reveals that Sean (Dillon Casey) is her son. (Plus her character is named Madeline; thank you Nikita writers for another La Femme Nikita nod.) Sean’s questioning his work this week, and he’d like Alex to help him figure things out. Is Sean the new Michael? They share some background – both were in the Navy – and seem to be headed down the same path. The idea has potential; from what we’ve seen of him so far, Casey seems a capable actor, not necessarily Shane West-caliber but able to pull off that kind of long-term character development. Knowing that Sean is also a future love interest for Alex, however, the writers would have to be very careful to keep Sean’s arc in season two from being a mere echo of Michael’s story in season one.
Speaking of Michael, after finding out that Max is his son last week, Michael is beyond cranky about being the last to know. Can we really blame him? I’m surprised that the bombshell was dropped so early, and while I like that there’s resulting friction between Michael and Nikita, it doesn’t quite feel like enough. If the writers were going to take the risk of driving a wedge between Michael and Nikita, they ought to really go for it, and make it worthwhile. So far, it doesn’t quite feel that way. The one good thing going for Michael is that he gets shot – not that I want him wounded, but it’s a nice different in a TV world where good guys can look like superheroes. Guess what? Michael’s human. He gets moody, and he gets hurt. He feels real.
If there’s a character who’s starting to feel unreal, it’s Nikita. Not character-wise, but she seems to have a gadget for everything. I’m all for big rooms full of cool stuff, but I hope that this doesn’t turn into the James Bond franchise where there are suddenly invisible boats and what have you. We know Nikita can fight without all those things, too, so let’s not have her get too reliant on technology.
Then we get to Alex, who is faced with someone she knew, and in an attempt to get information out of him must also deal with all the things she’s had to handle over the past season-plus. How fitting and yet creepy was it that she ended the episode in a Division holding room just like the one she began in?
“Clawback” is the episode that I was hoping season two would be. It gave us story possibilities for every character, and relationships that began to evolve – real chances for the show to move forward. But it’s easy to make one good episode; it’s much harder to keep that quality level going. Especially as next week’s episode seems to concern that still-questionable storyline about Michael’s son, I’m wary that this one might just be a flash in the pan. If it’s not, though, we might be able to say Nikita season two has finally arrived.